Event information

22 January 2020, 18:00-19:30
Register start 9 January 2020
Register end 21 January 2020


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Surviving Syria's Gulag: The Struggle of Sednaya’s Former Detainees for Justice and Accountability


Syria continues to witness widespread and systematic human rights violations. Since 2011, hundreds of thousands were murdered, disappeared, tortured or forcibly displaced. The brutal repression of what started as a peaceful uprising has led to war and resulted in one of the worst humanitarian crises since World War II, with 6.6 million internally displaced and 5.6 million refugees.

The Syrian regime continues to use the Sednaya Prison as the main centre for the detention and enforced disappearance of political prisoners; denying them any contact with the outside world and subjecting them to inhumane living conditions that often lead to their death.

The Association of the Detainees and Missing of the Sednaya Prison (ADMSP) is an organization seeking to uncover the truth and serve justice for detainees who were detained in Sednaya prison, recently launched a report on the conditions of detention in this prison. The report is based on 400 face-to-face interviews with former Sednaya detainees and provides information about past and present political detention in Syria. The report highlights the arrest, detention and torture methods used by the Syrian regime’s security apparatus against the detainees and as a means to terrorise the entire society. The report also documents the blackmailing and intimidation faced by the prisoners’ families.

In this event, organized by the Association of Detainees and the Missing in the Sednaya Prison, in cooperation with
Amnesty International, Impunity Watch and the Geneva Academy, panelists will explore the role of current justice and redress initiatives in the contexts of universal jurisdiction and in the documentation of violations. They will also discuss accountability prospects for international crimes committed in Syria from the perspective of victims and international actors.

Welcome Remarks

  • Thomas Unger, Co-Director of the MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Geneva Academy


  • Habib Nassar, Director of Policy and Research, Impunity Watch


  • Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International UK
  • Catherine Marchi-Uhel, Head, International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism on Syria
  • Diab Serrieh, General Coordinator, Association of Detainees and Missing in the Sednaya Prison


The panel discussion will be followed by a small reception during which the paintings and sculptures of artist and former Sednaya detainee Allam Fakhour will be on display.


You need to register to attend this event, via this online form.


Geneva Academy, Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva


Public Transport

Tram 15, tram stop Butini

Bus 1 or 25, bus stop Perle du Lac

Access for People with Disabilities

Villa Moynier is accessible to people with disabilities. If you have a disability or any additional needs and require assistance in order to participate fully, please email info[at]geneva-academy.ch


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